If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, don’t feel bad. I had to look it up a couple of years ago when I first heard about it. In fact, I’m still not sure what it stands for. What I do know is that it’s a pain in the butt to write a made up word with varying capitalization throughout it. But that’s just me being crotchety.
My next complaint about NanowhateverMo is how excited people get about it. And by people I mean writers (Yes, we’re people too. Strange people, but still people). I see Facebook posts and tweets and even emails talking it up and getting themselves psyched for the month of November and what that entails. I see it and I wince. I cringe. I shake my head. Then I move on.
So what is NeenerNeernerMo? It’s a challenge that was thought up and issues at some point in the past for writers to write a novel within the month of November. Just the rough draft, not a finished product. But still, an entire novel in a month?! That’s crazy!
Or is it? I’ve never consciously taken part in NaMoWamoDingDong and I’ve been writing a book a month for close to two years now. Honestly, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. If you want to write a book that quick, then do it. Don’t waste time that could be spent writing by drumming up a bunch of pomp and ceremony to announce it. Just do it.
On the other hand I do understand that some people like a challenge. Some people want to feel inspired and provoked. For them this helps them focus and put words to paper. Writing is a learning experience that never ends. Historically novels are supposed months and years to write. Technology and the upheavals in the publishing industry have changed all that. If NannerWhammer is what helps a writer evolve with it, then more power to them.
Me, I don’t bother with the distraction or the hype. I just keep plugging away and producing quality books that more and more people are discovering and loving. Case in point, I’m waiting anxiously to release last month’s project, Vitalis: Genesis. The cover art, by Willsin Rowe, is outstanding. In fact, it’s almost as good as what’s behind the cover! Genesis is the 4th novel in my Vitalis science fiction series. This one is more than just pure futuristic sci-fi though, it’s got some horror worked in as well.
And since you were probably wondering, this month’s project is Dragonlady, the 4th and final book in my Order of the Dragon fantasy series. Next month…well, I’m not sure. I’ve got some great ideas though, but there’s a lot of days between now and then so I don’t want to lock myself into something yet. That also means my reader have a very real chance to influence what comes next. Hint, hint.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
I had somebody ask me a while back on this very blog if it was suicide for a writer to write in more than one genre. My feelings are that it should be quite the opposite, and here’s why.
I’m a science fiction writer, but my second most successful series is a fantasy series called Voidhawk. Granted, Voidhawk is a space fantasy, but I assure you there is little to no science to be found in it. I’ve also dabbled in a few other genres, including romance. Only once so far, but it was a fun experience and I may very well revisit it in the future. So with that said I clearly have no qualms about jumping genres. In fact many of my titles cross genres. I’m reckless like that. I’ve been known to let my veggies cross the line on my plate to mingle with my steak as well.
I believe in a story, whether its mine or not. The story, if it’s good, determines how enjoyable a read it is, not the genre or length. So you’ve got astronauts landing on a derelict space ship, neat. They stumble into a locked vault that hasn’t been opened in centuries? Cool. Their are giants entombed in the hold with the bodies of horses? Rock on! They just woke up and sank their fangs into the human astronauts, sucking out their blood and turning them into vampires? Um…sure, why not?
My stories aren’t quite that exotic. If I could find a way to make it work I wouldn’t be opposed to giving it a shot. I do have a series that starts with urban fantasy and jumps heavily into paranormal (Dark Earth). From there it continues to blend in science fiction and more paranormal (The Lost Girls, Voices), and also introduce a heavy dose of mystery / hard boiled detective (The Lost Girls, upcoming release of Traitor).
Readers are smart people. They know what they like and when they find it, they’ll read it. In most cases they’re not going to view a writer who strayed from their chosen genre as a traitor. In fact, it’s far more likely that they’re probably going to be more likely to step out of their own comfort zone and try something out of the ordinary because of it. I have a few readers who have told me that they’ve strayed into unfamiliar waters because they liked my writing style. The end result was them being excited at being introduced to a new genre.
Now if you’ve got a genre where you’re consistently nailing best sellers with each release it might be prudent to stick with it. Otherwise expand your horizons and branch out. Try something new, you’ll grow from it and more than likely grow your reader pool, rather than decrease it!
To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.